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1 Timothy 1:3

ESV As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,
NIV As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer
NASB Just as I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, to remain on at Ephesus so that you would instruct certain people not to teach strange doctrines,
CSB As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach false doctrine
NLT When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.
KJV As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

What does 1 Timothy 1:3 mean?

Paul abruptly jumps into the content of his letter. This begins by repeating some earlier command to Timothy to stay in Ephesus. Both Paul and Timothy traveled to Ephesus at some point following Paul's house arrest. This imprisonment occurred in Rome around AD 60—62. Timothy had been in Rome with Paul and likely traveled with him from Rome to various locations, ultimately leading to Ephesus. Paul later left Timothy in leadership at Ephesus while traveling to Macedonia. There, he wrote this letter and a separate message to Titus. Paul would later be imprisoned again in Rome, where he wrote 2 Timothy before his death.

Timothy's specific motivation for staying was to maintain correct teaching in the Ephesian church. Paul's mention of "certain persons" as false teachers suggests a small group of people. Small or not, this group was influential enough to be a concern. Their error was teaching or instructing Christians in Ephesus to follow false doctrines. Since the truth had already been proclaimed, other ideas were both different and wrong. In 1 Timothy 6:3, Paul will define "different"—false—teaching as anything that "does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness." Truth is exclusive, so anything "different" from the truth is inaccurate and ungodly.
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